The U.S. State Department has warned citizens not to travel to China because the coronavirus .
The Bureau of Consular Affairs also told all nationals to leave Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak.
Commercial airlines have already reduced services from the US to China.
The advisory reads: ‘Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.
The U.S. State Department has warned citizens not to travel to China because the coronavirus
‘On January 30, the World Health Organization has determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
‘Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.
‘Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.’
The advisory tells those currently in the country to consider departing under commercial means. It adds that all non-essential U.S. government personnel should defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus.
‘In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air, road, and rail travel in the area around Wuhan and placed restrictions on travel and other activities throughout the country,’ the advisory concludes.
The first person-to-person case of coronavirus has been confirmed in a Chicago man who was infected by his wife, who traveled to China
‘On January 23, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members from Wuhan. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province.
The advisory comes on the heels of news of the sixth confirmed case in the US of a man whose wife had already been infected.
The man’s wife, who is in her 60s, became the second American after she returned from a trip to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
‘Given what we’ve seen in China and other countries with the novel coronavirus, CDC experts have expected some person-to-person spread in the US,’ Dr Robert Redfield, director of the CDC told reporters in a media call on Thursday.
More than 8,200 cases have been confirmed in 22 countries and territories around the world
‘We understand that this may be concerning, but based on what we know now, we still believe the immediate risk to the American public is low.’
The couple, who have not been identified, are now both being isolated at St Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago.
According to officials from the Illinois Department of Health, the wife is ‘doing well’ and the husband is ‘stable’.
The wife traveled to Wuhan – where the virus originated – in late December to take care of her elderly father.
She arrived at O’Hare International Airport on January 13, but did not begin experiencing symptoms until several days later.
CDC officials say they do not believe she infected her husband until she was symptomatic.
The husband had some pre-existing medical conditions, similar to many infected patients, but health officials would not elaborate on what those conditions were.
Health officials say that the man was not attending mass gatherings and they are monitoring close contacts.
‘This person-to-person spread was between two very close contacts, a wife and husband,’ said Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health in the media call on Thursday.
‘It is not spreading in the wider community.’
Previously, all confirmed US cases had been in patients who travel to Wuhan, where an outbreak has been ongoing since December 2019.
However, there have been cases of human-to-human transmission reported outside of China, including in Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The four other cases have been confirmed in Maricopa County, Arizona; Orange County and Los Angeles County California; and Snohomish County, Washington.
Currently, 168 cases are under investigation in at least 26 states – 21 of those alone in Illinois.
The CDC say it is likely that more cases of the virus, known as 2019-nCoV, will be reported in the next several days and weeks.
Signs and symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, with 20 percent of cases becoming severe.
Health officials say the best steps Americans can take to stay safe is to practice basic hygiene including washing hands with warm water and soap and coughing or sneezing into an elbow.
Meanwhile in China, the coronavirus death toll has risen to 170 as of Thursday afternoon and several countries – including the US and UK – have advised against non-essential travel to the nation.
More than 8,300 people have been sickened by the deadly strain in at least 22 countries and territories amid an international effort to stop the spread.
On Wednesday, an evacuation flight with 195 Americans onboard landed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California.
They were greeted by in officials hazmat suits before being filed onto awaiting buses and taken to another building.
The plane, which also carried six members, departed Wuhan before dawn on Wedneday before stopping to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska.
Originally scheduled to fly to Ontario International Airport in Ontario, California, tje flight was diverted to the air base 25 miles away without explanation late on Tuesday night.
Currently, the passengers are under a voluntary 72-hour quarantine as officials check for signs and symptoms.
Prior to this, the passengers underwent four screenings: two before departure in Wuhan and another two during a refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska.
There are more than 1,000 Americans still in Wuhan, bu the US State Department announced on Thursday it was planning a second evacuation flight.